Editor’s Soap Box: Community needs to step up

Commentary Featured Opinion Opinion

Ringing in the New Year, a fellow Eagle Scout, someone I know, confessed to the brutal murder of 22-year-old Alissa Shippert.

The night I found out I was staying up late working on our website, GriffonNews.com. In our small community, people knew Quintin worked with Shippert. Somehow, he walked around for seven months, acting relatively normal, with murder on his conscience.

What is done is done. Sadly, the community I call home can’t get passed that. Quintin’s facebook wall remains open and a litany of ignorant, belligerent, and downright hypocritical comments have been appearing on his wall since.

Before I continue it should be noted that I know he confessed to both charges. I recognize that his mug shot, which has been run on national news now, shows no regret in the man’s face. For all intents and purposes, Quintin is a murderer.

What I find further depressing is the actions of the rest of us. We cannot change Quintin. What he has done cannot be reversed. So, when people I went to school with post in his facebook that they will pray for his swift death or hope he gets raped in prison, I want to thank those people. Thank you. I now see how ignorant and soulless you are.

Another posted that if Quintin ever got out, people would murder him. Now, I don’t want to turn this into a column about the death penalty and the moral implications of a society deeming someone unfit to live in it. You, dear poster on his facebook wall, are not society. We have courts, prosecutors, judges and juries to decide those things. Not one man, who has most likely never studied criminal justice or sociology.

Please, for those of you who know Quintin and are connected to his now inactive social networking sites, don’t post there. He’s never going to see it. Do you really think they have facebook in prison? They don’t. You know who does have facebook: his family. His two sisters are finishing their last year at Platte County High and are probably being tortured by their peers already.

My condolences to Miss Shippert’s family, but I also have sympathy for Quintin’s family. For everyone involved, the tragedy won’t end after his sentencing. These things linger, but hopefully not for long.

Another ignorant idea coming out of this is that somehow, Quintin’s rank of Eagle Scout somehow had something to do with his violent tendencies, or that, being and Eagle Scout isn’t as much of an honor as our society says it is. Lighting strikes even the tallest of trees.

I can assure you, that in no way, would the training of the Boy Scouts of America ever play into the amoral killing of an innocent woman. The last line of our Motto is “to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.” Those aren’t just words though, everything in scouting teaches us how to be a good person to ourselves and to each other. I know that scouting has made a significantly positive impact on my life.

Does this mean that Scouting went wrong with Quintin? Not at all. It doesn’t mean anyone around Quintin did anything wrong, including his parents. It means that lightning strikes the tallest of trees, too. Ever since I had known Quintin he was never a violent or angry person. But, sometimes people just aren’t born with something. Our idea of evil is that evil is a possession of some sort, meaning that those who murder in cold blood have evil. Maybe evil is lacking something. Maybe no amount of scouting could fix that ever.

I will defend, protect and adhere to the scouting way of life until I die. The actions of individuals do not reflect on an organization as a whole. If that were true, America, and all countries for that matter, would not be considered great societies to live in.

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